Rickelton v Hendricks among key battles in final

Ryan Rickelton will have the tough task of subduing an impressive Western Province attack in the CSA Four-Day Series final starting tomorrow. | BackpagePix

Ryan Rickelton will have the tough task of subduing an impressive Western Province attack in the CSA Four-Day Series final starting tomorrow. | BackpagePix

Published Feb 27, 2024

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Zaahier Adams

Just a couple of weeks ago Ryan Rickelton and Beuran Hendricks were trying desperately to win games together for MI Cape Town in the SA20.

But now Rickelton has to front up to Hendricks when the Lions host Western Province in the Cricket SA Four-Day Series final at the Wanderers starting tomorrow.

Both players are immense for the respective teams, with Rickelton’s half-centuries in the last two matches ensuring the Lions’ passage to the final, while Hendricks claimed a four-for at Newlands last week that knocked out the defending champions, the Dolphins.

There certainly won’t be any love lost between the two when the action gets under way at the Bullring.

Ryan Rickelton will have the tough task of subduing an impressive Western Province attack in the CSA Four-Day Series final starting tomorrow. | BackpagePix

“I don’t talk to Beuran much. He’s a bit annoying,” Rickelton quipped.

“There’ll certainly be a bit of chat amongst him and Nandre (Burger) towards us, but we’ll take it as it comes.”

For all the banter, Rickelton is fully aware that the Lions will come up against “possibly the best attack in the country”.

Province’s bowling unit has been particularly impressive throughout the season – both with white and red ball. Led by the experienced Hendricks, who swings the ball both ways, they also possess the X-factor of Burger’s extreme pace.

The duo will also most likely be joined by Proteas returnees Dane Paterson and Mihlali Mpongwana for the grand final this week, while left-arm spinner Kyle Simmonds’s seven-wicket haul in the second innings against the Dolphins has shown that he is much more than a stop-gap for George Linde, who is off playing in the Pakistan Super League.

“They are up there as possibly the best attack in the country,” Rickelton said.

“They have got pace, they have swing – left-arm, right-arm – and then Patto is a master of his own.

“Our first game was against them at Newlands, and they were bloody difficult to mitigate, but we showed they were not impossible to mitigate.

“Our batting is a big factor for us, so it will be a good contest, and hopefully the wicket will be fair to see who will come out on top.”

The Lions will certainly take great confidence from the season-opening victory over Province at Newlands, while they also got the better of their southern rivals in last season’s 1-Day Cup final at the Bullring.

Rickelton is in great form after topping the run-scorers’ chart in the SA20 and feels that after a couple of weeks of tightening up his red-ball game, he is ready for the challenge.

“I’m just trying to keep it simple and spending time at the crease, instead of worrying about runs and getting out.

“I am just trying to keep the momentum going. Possibly in the last game against Paarl I was going too hard in defence and picking the wrong deliveries to attack, so its nice to get into a groove, into playing it a bit late.”

The Lions boast one of the largest squads in the country and although Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen are both on PSL duty and will miss the final, they will most likely be able to recall their Proteas who did duty in New Zealand in the form of Zubayr Hamza and Tshepo Moreki – both former Province players who left for Johannesburg at the start of the season.

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